Include Rural Entrepreneurs In Digital Economy, Says Bumi Chambers Official

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KOTA KINABALU – Digital economy which is a focus in Budget 2017 will potentially spur internet infrastructure development in Sabah and enhance the marketing competency of local entrepreneurs.

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Sabah Bumiputera Chamber of Commerce secretary-general Mohammad Zikrun described a dynamic and efficient internet infrastructure as an important element in ensuring the realisation of Sabah’s digital economy aspiration.

He said the lack of internet infrastructure in Sabah particularly in the rural areas was a setback for the entrepreneurs, as many online applications including the cloud computing-based accounting application could not be speedily accessed.

Hence, he told Bernama, internet infrastructure development must be stepped up in Sabah, to also enable rural entrepreneurs to enjoy the benefits that digital economy could provide.

“Although it involves substantial allocation and costs, like it or not, it must be done because otherwise entrepreneurs in the rural areas would lag behind and the all-inclusive digital economy mission would not be achieved,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mohammad said entrepreneurs in Sabah should be given training and exposure on using online applications, “as part of the effort to assist them in acquiring skills to enhance their business, digitally”.

He also proposed for the government to set up more online advertisement platforms for entrepreneurs to promote and market their products.

He said the government should also provide mentor programmes aside from coordinating and simplifying the business certification process, and setting up packaging centres to intensify product development and quality packaging, to compete with other online products.

In Budget 2017, RM162 million was allocated to Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to implement programmes such as E-trade Ecosystem and Digital Maker Movement.